Few cars have influenced the automotive landscape the way the Ford Taurus has. At its introduction back in 1986, the Taurus was a groundbreaking model, one which spawned a fan base like no other family sedan has before it or since. Its revolutionary aerodynamic shape, exceptional feature set, outstanding comfort, and wonderfully affordable price tag immediately assured it a place in the automotive hall of fame.
Unfortunately, these attributes made it a hard act to follow too.
Easily one of the best-selling cars in America throughout its first 10 years of production, subsequent models weren’t nearly as innovative. Ford, resting on its laurels vis-à-vis the Taurus, was focusing heavily on its trucks and SUVs during the second decade of the Taurus’ lifetime. So much so, Ford allowed the Taurus to stagnate. The market responded predictably and more competitive models from Asia filled the void, supplanting the Taurus as the best-selling car in America.
Eventually, things got so bad the Taurus was relegated to rental fleets only while Ford introduced new models in the Taurus’s space with different names. The Ford 500, and the Ford is Freestyle were basically the Taurus in disguise. However, marketers mistakenly thought the Taurus name had lost its attraction. Ford's current CEO, Alan Mullaly felt this was a mistake and ordered the Taurus name revived. He was proven correct. Today, the Taurus is once again one of Ford's best-selling models.
There have been six generations of the Taurus produced since the original was introduced in 1986. For the purposes of this buyer's guide, we will focus on the fourth, fifth, and sixth generations—starting with model year 2000.